Sumabawa is divided into three administrative regencies that act in response roughly to the former sultanates: Sumbawa Besar in the west; Bima in the east and Dompu, the home of Gunung Tambora in the centre. It was Tambora that cut off the people of the west from the people in the east for centuries. The two parts of the island are separated in nature and by language, that spoken by Sumbawanese is like more Sasak; that spoken by the Bimanese being more like the languages of Flores and Sumba. Approximately 800,000 people are farmers and fisherman. Some 85 % of the land is jagged and mountainous, not applicable for agriculture, but the rich volcanic soil of the river valley yields plentiful crops. These valleys were the site of many states, the island's first political states.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Tambora is a stratovolcano, forming the Sanggar peninsula of Sumbawa Island. The diameter of the volcano at sea-level is about 60 km. Prior to the 1815 eruption, the volcano may have been as tall as 4,000 m. The 1815 eruption formed a caldera about 6 km in diameter, the caldera is 1,110 m deep. The 1815 eruption of Tambora was the largest eruption in historic time. About 150 cubic kilometres of rock and ash were erupted; ash fell as far as 1,300 km from the volcano; the eruption column reached a height of about 44 km. An estimated 92,000 people were killed by the eruption. About 10,000 direct deaths were caused by bomb impacts, tephra fall, and pyroclastic flows. An estimated 82,000 were killed indirectly by the eruption by starvation, disease, and hunger. Mount Tambora, not active at present, rising 2,850 meters above sea level, attracts the climbers. Mount Tambora is heavily wooded, and surrounded by a thick belt of rain forest, a strange contrast to the aridity of the remainder of the peninsula. From the rim of the crater you may view the rest the island, the sea, Mount Rinjani, and the island of Lombok in the distance. Climbing Tambora is recommended to very experienced and physically well-prepared climbers.
Moyo Island, on the north east of Sumbawa Besar, is the right place for lovers of nature and the underwater world. Moyo Island, has a nature reserve with wild oxen, deer, wild boars and a great variety bird species that occupy almost two-thirds of the island. Land animals are easy to see and attractive enough, the main attraction lies beneath the sea surface. Moyo offers some of the very best snorkelling in Indonesia.
The main attraction of Bima is the former palace the Bima sultanate. The building is now being turned into a museum. Dara s village two kilometres from the town of Bima in eastern Sumbawa, is believed to be the former seat of the ancient Bima kingdom.